Westlake optimistic

It could have been seen as a risk, but Town's mixture of youth and experience is having a positive effect on its young guns as they push for a play-off place, writes Ashley Leszczuk.

It could have been seen as a risk, but Town's mixture of youth and experience is having a positive effect on its young guns as they push for a play-off place, writes Ashley Leszczuk.

Speaking to the EADT, Town's 19-year-old midfielder Ian Westlake explained: "It's really good because there's an understanding between the youth-team players, obviously, and having played with them for a long time we play well together."

The understanding is already showing between himself and Darren Bent, resulting in Westlake owing Bent a favour:

"He has set me up a few times this year and he was saying that it was about time I did it to him. I set him up earlier in the season against Derby, but I haven't set him up since then so I think I owe him one."

Looking back on the game at Walsall, Westlake said: "Bent put away his three chances really well. It's important that we put away the chances. At the end of the day, however well we play, it's the goals that are going to get us the three points."

The experience of Jim Magilton, Richard Naylor and now Matt Elliott helps Westlake not to worry about pressure so much: "I tend to take one game at a time and with the team around me, we've got the youth and the experience."

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"The experienced players are very good at talking to us and helping us with any pressure that we might be feeling," he added.

Playing alongside experienced players and with the introduction of Elliott, Westlake said: "It's a great positive to have the likes of Matt in the team who know the game very well, it makes us younger lot feel much more relaxed. Matt is a very strong player and we need someone like him what with our injuries at the back."

He added: "The whole team's confidence is really high, no one's thinking that we're not playing well, the confidence is always there."

"It was really important that we got the win at Walsall, just to reassure us that we weren't just playing good football and missing the chances."

Looking ahead to today's home game against Watford and next week's away match at Wimbledon, Westlake said: "We really need to push on and get the next six points. They are going to be really hard games. Watford are battling for the points and need them as much as we do, but in a different way."

"They do need a result, but when they come here I can't see them going for a win. This could make it really hard to break them down."

Asked whether he thinks Town have been patient enough this season, Westlake said: "I think we need to get our own passing game going and we do need to be patient at times.

"I think sometimes when we've gone behind we have been a bit too keen to get back in the game and been caught on the counter-attack. It's something we've looked at and need to cut out of our game.

"We can keep the ball well, but it's just having the patience to pass the ball around until the opening comes for us."

Westlake remains positive about a play-off place and takes his own view on this stage of the season: "People say the play-offs are a lottery but I don't think it is at all, the best team wins it. On the day it depends how you play and whether you win or lose."

"With so many teams fighting for it, it's not like you can really plan who you will play. Even the top two have got some tough games, they might even slip up."

So who knows, Town may get the results that their form has suggested are coming and results may go the wrong way for others in the Premiership-chasing pack. It is there for the taking and Westlake and Co. are ready.

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